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Is There Any Hope of Change September 7, 2012

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The two major political parties have a lock on power in the United States.  The election laws, the media and family voting patterns all collude to make the election of a third party candidate to the Presidency a near impossibility.  The closest in the lifetime of anyone reading this happened in 1992 when Ross Perot garnered 18.91% of the vote and not one electoral vote.  He has long been blamed for causing the defeat of Bush the Elder and the election of Clinton the Last.  Whether Mr. Perot did have such a dramatic effect on the presidential election is still debated.  Just as in most theological debates both sides offer well-constructed arguments supported by what they consider irrefutable scripture references or in this case, the life’s blood of political statements: statistics.

One certainty that cannot be debated is that Perot did not have an honest man’s chance in Washington to be elected.

Consequently either Barak Obama will continue as America’s president or he will be unseated and Mitt Romney will replace him.  There may be others running.  There may be better qualified people.  There may be someone who could inspire and lead us all into a second century of American ascendance; however, despite whomever else there may be it will be either the Democrat Obama or the Republican Romney.  Life may not be fair but it usually is predictable, and this is as predictable as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.  One of the two parties of power will win.

Given this preordained outcome is there really any hope of change?  Or will we continue to watch helplessly as the perpetually re-elected parties continue to spend us into oblivion?

With Mr. Obama’s second term there is no doubt that all we can expect is more of the same, on steroids.  Mr. Obama has said, “I think that after this election, we’ll be in a position to once again reach out to Republicans and say that the American people have rendered a judgment, and the positions we’re taking are well within what used to be considered bipartisan centrist approaches.”

A divided government, if the Republicans maintain control of the House, might slow things down, however Mr. Obama has shown he is ready, willing and with the silence of Congress able to rule by decree.  If Congress won’t pass the Dream Act he imposes it.  If Congress won’t pass Cap-N-Trade he regulates it into being.  So we know that if he wins a second term it will be his way or the highway.   His agenda will continue to be the national agenda and four more years might be enough to sink the ship of state in a Cloward–Piven Strategy overwhelming the system scenario.

Four more years of the Obama led Democrat Progressives and we may be fundamentally transformed beyond recognition.  The heritage of our Founding Fathers may become the lost cause of a failed experiment in individual liberty and economic freedom as America descends into the morass of a welfare state based on re-distribution and political correctness.  In other words, the dream of Obama’s father.

That is one side of the coin.  What about the other?

If we get Tweedledee instead of Tweedledum will it be morning in America again?  Will the ghost of the Gipper lead us from the government’s shovel-never-ready Great Recession into a new era where things are made in America again and everything’s coming up roses?

There is no way from where we are: 16 trillion in debt, a decimated industrial base and a large proportion of our population addicted to government handouts, back to being the largest creditor in the world, the largest manufacturer, a land of self-reliant patriots without major dislocations, and dare I say it, austerity.

Mr. Romney’s fifty nine point plan to save the economy is a well-crafted and well-presented plan to revitalize America’s economy through a pro-capitalist free market approach.   It is however not as easy to explain or present as tax the rich and give everyone else free stuff.  Since it is better known and has been more widely and perhaps more eloquently presented the Republicans appear to be fronting with Paul Ryan’s plan to save America.  Both the Romney and the Ryan plan are a clear step away from the plunder policies of Mr. Obama and his Progressive shock troops.

However, neither Republican plans adequately addresses the entitlement time bomb.  Neither projects a balanced budget in any timely fashion and neither proposes any way to ensure that future Congresses live by any restraints imposed.  Both promise to preserve our imperial defense spending needed to support two wars and more than 100 foreign bases.  Both rattle sabers in the direction of Syria and Iran.  What we have is an effort to slow the growth of the debt by reducing the yearly deficits.

Slowing the growth is decidedly better than accelerating but the debt keeps growing and the abyss that looms ahead of us is the unsustainability of the debt.  A future rise in interest rates will sink the ship as the service on the debt wipes out the government’s ability to keep its promises or meet its obligations.  This is the very scenario the Progressives have been progressing towards.  The people who tell us never to let a crisis go to waste have long worked incrementally to lead us to the crisis at the end of the Constitution.  A final crisis when limited government will be completely unshackled and the central planners will triumph.

If Romney wins he and his administration may put a speed bump on the expressway to the poor house, but unless they are ready to shut down the gravy train and turn off the spigot of re-distribution we will merely postpone the day of reckoning.  Slower is better than faster when it comes to assuming room temperature; however, unless we turn this ship around we’re headed for the shoals of bankruptcy and the reefs of insolvency either way.

Even though Mr. Obama makes the Carter Administration look like the good old days don’t count out the machines ability to pull an election out of their hat.  From no voter IDs and Black Panthers patrolling the polls, from polling places in cemeteries, to every obstacle imaginable in the way of people in our armed forces voting this will be a no-holds-barred Chicago-style campaign by the Democrats.  The Progressives know this is the one they need.  This is the election that will seal the deal and finally transform America into a re-distribution center with them picking all the winners and losers.  They win…America loses.

As one example of how the institutions the Progressives have built over the years will line up to re-elect Barack Obama, look at the recent moves of the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve is moving to inject massive amounts of money into the economy, while keeping interest rates near zero, before the election in a clear move to help re-elect President Obama.  How are they going to do this?  Will they just print more money?  No, they wouldn’t do anything so crude or easy to see as that.  Instead, they will announce an open ended mandate to purchase Treasury Bonds and mortgage backed securities.  This is QE (Quantitative Easing) 3 in all but name.  In QE1 the Fed bought $2.3 trillion of securities and in QE2 $600 billion of Treasuries.  How big will this round of pump priming be?  According to San Francisco Fed President John Williams, since this is an open ended authorization it  could eventually be, “at least as large as QE2 or arguably even larger again.”  The casino stock market will soar, and the Fed, through its Chairman, will continue to assure us inflation is small, negligible, and nothing we won’t be able to handle.  Then again, what’s a little inflation if it helps re-elect a president whose goal is to swamp the system.

Expect an October surprise such as action against Iran or Syria.  Expect an encouraging jobs report right before the election that will be revised lower later.  Expect the Obama Administration to do whatever it takes to win.

Romney’s road may still lead to the poor house but Obama’s is a bullet train to nowhere.  Is there any hope for change?  Not with what we’ve heard so far.  Maybe there is a chance to switch from the certainty of near term collapse to the promise of at least a few more stations and a few more track changes before we hit the wall.  Who knows with enough time maybe enough people will get up off the couch, turn off the game, and pay attention to make a difference.  At least that would be a change we could all hope for.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Uncle Sam Plays You Pay April 15, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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America is careening towards a financial Armageddon.  The president proposed a budget for 2012 that projected a deficit of 1.6 Trillion dollars.  That is trillion with a “T.”  Gone are the innocent days when one of the perpetually re-elected could quip, “A billion here and a billion there and soon we’re talking about real money.”  Now billions disappear into the federal sinkhole at the rate of 4.08 billion per day.  What does a trillion look like? If you went into business the day Jesus was born, and you lost a million dollars a day, 365 days a year, it would take you until October 2737 to lose a trillion dollars.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the budget deficit just for February 2011 hit $223 billion, which means more debt was added in just that one month than was added in all of 2007.  The personal share of the federal debt borne by every tax-paying citizen is now increasing at the rate of $50 per day seven days a week, 364 days a year.  That is an increase of $1,500 per month and $18,250 per year per tax payer.

That sounds serious.  However, it doesn’t appear as if our elected officials take it seriously at all.  The Republicans propelled into the majority by the grassroots activism, high energy and victories of the Tea Party Movement promised to cut 100 billion from the 2011 budget.  President Obama submitted that budget which spends 3.7 trillion with a deficit of 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.  It was never passed even though the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.  This left the door open for the Republicans to use the continuing resolutions necessary to keep the government operating as vehicles to wring spending cuts from the Democrats.  After theatrical bi-weekly dramas these cuts were in the range of ten to twelve billion dollars.

Then finally, with the Democrats imposing an artificial deadline for the passage of a budget that was almost half expended and which they had failed to pass when they had undisputed control, the two parties of power struck what they hailed as a “Historic” compromise.  They first told us they slashed thirty eight billion from the budget.  The actual number, according to the Congressional Budget Office has since dwindled down and down until today it is estimated to be less than a billion.  The Federal Government will still increase the national debt by several trillion dollars this year and our leaders expect us to celebrate their conversion to fiscal sanity.  Isn’t the definition of insanity to continue doing the same thing and expect different results?  Just because they’re crazy doesn’t mean we have to cheerfully put on an economic straight-jacket and walk voluntarily into a padded cell at the poor house.

Representative Paul Ryan (R. WI) introduced a budget which he says takes on the sacred cows and gores the sacred bulls by cutting six trillion from the projected budgets of the next ten years.  The Democrats immediately assaulted this plan as cruel, heartless, and inadequate.  The President announces his latest plan which he assures us he meant to introduce all along once someone else had opened the debate.  In His plan Mr. Obama plans to cut the projected deficit by stopping waste and abuse in government programs and by taxing the rich.

There are two problems with this approach: if we had all the money politicians have promised to save by stopping waste and abuse we would have a surplus, and the rich don’t have enough money.  It has been estimated that if you confiscated every dime every person who makes over one million dollars per year makes it would only generate enough money to run our debt addicted government for less than one year.  What would we do for the next year?  And the fact of the matter is that the tax increases the President wants are not confined to the rich. They would target everyone with a combined gross income above 250,000.  That group includes most small business people.  This approach will take money out of the pockets of the greatest creators of jobs: small business people.  And it still won’t generate enough money to stop the red ink.

Now the battle looms to raise the debt limit.  This is an inside-the-belt-way shell game wherein the parties of power each beat their chests and growl at each other about who is the most responsible before they both vote to increase the limit on their collective credit card.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just raise the limit on our credit cards indefinitely?  And now with the Federal Reserve buying our own debt to finance the repayment maybe we could increase the limits on all our cards so that we can pay our Visa with our MasterCard and our MasterCard with our Discover and our Discover with our Visa.  How could that ever go wrong?

The storyline we are supposed to believe now is that in exchange for raising the debt limit there must be meaningful movement towards a balanced budget amendment.  That sounds so encouraging.  If we just had a balanced budget amendment the problem will be solved.  As always there are several spare balanced budget amendments lying around in Congress waiting for enough votes or at least an opportunity to get to the floor for a debate before they are stuffed back in a committee until the next time the shopaholics on the Potomac need to convince the great unwashed in fly-over country that this time they are serious about curbing their over-spending.

Even if they were passed what good would they do?  The President and the Democrats have already shown that they think the way to solve the deficit problem is to raise taxes.  The Republicans have a plan that appears very dramatic but at the end of a decade still has not ended the deficit spending, which means the debt is still growing.

The International Monetary Fund has looked at these plans and says it appears America is not serious about dealing with its addiction to debt.  If we don’t do something soon our creditors are going to stage an intervention, and they will dictate how we must restructure our lives and our nation if we want any more credit. And we are addicted to credit.

A balanced budget amendment merely requires a balanced budget, and budgets can be balanced by increasing taxes instead of decreasing spending.  What we need instead is a spending amendment which would limit federal expenditures to a reasonable percentage of the nation’s income.  If we can’t stop the spending we will eventually destroy our credit, collapse our economy, and curtail our liberty. In other words, no matter what we the people want Uncle Sam will continue to spend, spend, spend as long as we pay, pay, pay.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

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